Tiblow Days BBQ contest packed with stiffer competition
In only its third year, the Tiblow Days’ Smokin’ on Oak barbecue competition has exploded from a small-town event into one that has to turn people away.
Following this year’s contest, event organizer Tony Corporon said he was excited about the amount in which the contest has grown in such a short period of time.
“(This year) was the best event so far,” Corporon said. “Everyone had a good time. We’ve tripled in size in three years.”
At the competition for the first time this year was the team The Disciples of Blues and BBQ. Team member Mark “Sparky” Krull, of Olathe, said his team tried to sign up for the contest last year but was told there were already too many teams.
This year they managed to make their way into the contest, and Krull said the team was excited to be at the Bonner Springs event.
He said his team enjoyed the Smokin’ on Oak contest, especially Friday night, when the barbecue teams invited family and friends to taste-test their cooking. Krull said the music from Tiblow Days’ free concerts in Centennial Park could be heard from the barbecue contestants’ cooking stations up the street across from the Community Center. The music, he said, made the evening more enjoyable.
The Disciples of Blues and BBQ team has been competing for three years. Team member Frank Lapointe, of Olathe, said the team started from a group of neighbors getting together to cook a whole pig for a neighborhood party.
“Cooking a whole pig for 125 people went well, so we decided to take it a step further and see what barbecue (competitions) are all about,” Lapointe said.
Lapointe said his team has loved the contest aspect of barbecue, but more than anything, he loves the camaraderie and friendships that have grown out of the team.
“It’s a great pleasure cooking for our friends,” he said. “Their encouragement really makes you feel good.”
Also at the contest for the first time was the team The Petrified Pig. They, too, tried to enter last year but were turned away because the competition was full.
The two members of the team from Basehor, who have been competing together for three years, were excited Saturday afternoon to be at the contest. Team member Darrin Orton said the Smokin’ on Oak contest was probably the best his team had been to this year.
From the weather to the less-crowded feeling, Orton said he was happy his team, which also includes Chris Miller, made it into the event this year.
The Petrified Pig’s love of barbecue, Orton said, has blossomed since its first competition experience at the American Royal barbecue contest in Kansas City, Mo.
“It’s fun to meet people and enjoy barbecue,” Orton said.
Of the four contest categories — pork, chicken, brisket and ribs — Orton said his team’s specialty was pork. Out of 400 teams at the American Royal, Orton said The Petrified Pig finished in ninth in the pork category.
“(Pork) tends to be our top product, I think, because we pull it,” Orton said. “Other people try to chop it or slice it.”
Corporon said he thought the entire event went off without a hitch.
“I’m really proud of the turnout, really proud of the judges and really proud of the teams,” Corporon said.
While the event has been continually growing in numbers for three years, with 36 teams competing this year, Corporon said it’s been the talent that has really taken off.
Each year, he said, the competition had become stiffer and stiffer as well-seasoned teams have found out about the event.
Because the event is sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society, Corporon said winners are entitled to prestigious invitations to some of the biggest barbecue contests in the area.
“With the support and hard work of many who volunteered their time, the chamber put on a spectacular barbecue competition for the City of Bonner Springs, and I look forward to doing it better next year,” Corporon said.
This year’s winners are as follows:
• Grand Champion — TrueBud BBQ
• Reserve Grand Champion — KC Smoke Dawgs
• First place in chicken — Brew N’ Bar-B-Que
• First place in pork ribs — KC Smoke Dawgs
• First place in pork — TrueBud BBQ
• First place in brisket — Crazy Bones BBQ